Your Guide to Buying the Best Carp Fishing Tackle for Beginners

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Your Guide to Buying the Best Carp Fishing Tackle for Beginners

Beginner carp fishers can often get confused when considering the vast amount of equipment and tackle to select from. For the novice to carp fishing, not all of the gear available is absolutely necessary – this guide will help you to navigate through the vast variety of accessories and equipment available, and give you the tools needed to select the gear that is right for you. It will also ensure you feel secure in making your purchase on eBay. Naturally, it is very important to do some research and gather some knowledge on what is absolutely necessary for carp fishing and what isn’t.

Firstly, how many rods are needed? Most beginners kick off with two rods, but there’s nothing stopping the beginner buying three or more. Bear in mind, though, that many fishing locations allow just two rods. A rod licence will be needed for the extra rods, as a regular licence covers just two rods.

Anglers who opt for the two-rod approach will still need other tackle. These include two reels, rod support, bite indicators, unhooking mats, a tackle box, and a chair. These can all be bought from fishing shops or from the convenience of your own home through the fishing section on eBay.

Buying Carp Fishing Rods

Are fishing rods not all the same? No, that is why there are so many on the market. A carp-fishing rod can be secured for £25, but expect to pay at least £70 for a quality rod.

One way of gauging the power of a rod is the test curve. This is a way of testing its casting ability. The test curve is the weight that’s needed at the tip to flex it through 90 degrees as measured against the rod’s butt. For most fishing locations, a 21/2lb test curve (TC) rod will be fine.

A rod’s 'action' covers how it flexes under load.

  • Slow-taper rods flex right through their length. This is fine for close-up fishing.
  • Medium-action taper rods are stiffer nearer the butt and can fish from some distance.
  • Fast-taper rods are powerful in the butt and mid-section. These are great for distance casting.

Buying Reels

Carp fishing changed for the better when the Baitrunner  system from Shimano was introduced. With this, there is a secondary drag function that allows a controlled ‘free-spool’. You can let the fish take the bait, travel with it to allow it to swallow the bait enough, then get a good hook set. For carp fishermen, things are now much easier, especially as most carp reels use this system, albeit sometimes under a different brand name, such as Fox Stratos or Zebco.

Buying Rod Support

There are two options with rod support:

  • Banksticks:  Anglers who have fished before will know about banksticks. They are essential items that keep the rod in position ready for a bite. Anglers normally use two – one at the front and one at the back – so that the rod can be angled.  Those opting for banksticks should go for the screw-in version. These can be used on dry mud banks, but do cost slightly more.
  • Rod pod: This provides more support than banksticks. It can operate on firm surfaces and does not need to be secured into the ground. Not all are of high quality, but buying online on eBay can save money and provide a wider range of options to browse through.

Buying Bite Alarms

Bite alarms tell anglers about bites – audibly and visually. Features vary but most use a roller-wheel idea. Here, when the line moves, the roller rotates. Another style of bite alarm operates by sensing when the line is vibrating. Try to buy bite alarms on which the volume can be adjusted – loud noises can scare off fish and irritate other anglers.

Bit alarms with adjustable tones are also available on eBay, allowing for different alarm sounds on different rods. Alarms that can attach an external sounder box are best. Good-quality bite alarms can be bought in good online angling shops or from individual sellers in eBay's fishing section.

Buying Bite Indicators

It is vital to buy bite indicators as they provide excellent information. If the indication rises, it shows that a carp has taken the bait and is travelling away. A falling indicator shows the carp is coming towards the rod. This can help with angling strategy.

Indicators come in various designs. Some are just bobbins clipped to the line, some are illuminated connectors. If beginner anglers are new to the sport and not yet ready to invest in expensive accessories, a basic version will probably be fine, especially as there is so much more to buy. Bite indicators of all quality can be purchased in eBay’s Fishing section.

Buying Unhooking Mats and Landing Nets

  • Good landing nets make fishing so much easier and are better for the fish, too. If the mesh is too rough, scales and protective mucus can be damaged. Fine mesh nets are best.
  • Likewise, go for a high-quality unhooking mat – most fishing venues will make it a rule. A good product is a combined unhooking mat and weigh sling. This helps anglers handle carp and means there is no requirement to move the carp from the mat to the sling.
  • A pair of forceps will also be required to get the hook out with care.

Buying Carp Fishing Tackle

A main line will be needed and there are plenty to select from. Several have become popular sellers on eBay, such as the Daiwa Sensor, but braid can be substituted just as well. It is less prone to getting caught under the water and it does not keep its coiling effect. However, many venues have banned braid. Fluorocarbon mainlines have the advantage of being transparent underwater.

Stick closely to the instructions when loading spools. Try to avoid twisted lines. If this kind of user information does not come supplied with the equipment, try the makers’ website. Weights will also be required. Light leads are generally recommended by angling experts, who argue that the PVA bag already has enough casting weight.

What about rigs? Ready-made ones could be best at first, as beginners making their own can be problematic. Either way, a baiting needle and hair-stops will be useful for hair-rigging baits.

Hooklink material will also be essential and there is a vast array of options, such as coated braids and fluorocarbons. Tying rigs with fluorocarbons can be tricky, especially as some knots do not lend themselves well to fluorocarbon. A coated-braid could be the best initial step before graduating to fluorocarbon in the future. In any case, heatshrink tubing will also be a good purchase, as will silicon tubing, which will safeguard knotting.

Which hooks beginners go for depends largely on rig type. For those doing distance baiting, PVA items can be useful in making sure the loose feed is delivered near to the hookbait.

Good angling stores eBay can supply all of these carp-fishing items and more, and you can also find specific items for sale from individual sellers through the search function.

Find Carp-Fishing Tackle on eBay

Obviously, plenty of research is required into for the novice carp fisherman before bidding for any items on eBay. It’s essential that buyers are aware of precisely what they need to purchase.

  • Sellers should be thoroughly checked out as well.
  • As with any responsible purchase, the eBay feedback must be scrutinised.
  • Buyers should also familiarise themselves with eBay and PayPal and the buyer protection they offer.
  • Buyers should consider that, as a lot of carp-fishing tackle is heavy, if possible it is worth considering items which can be collected locally as the cost of shipping tackle could be substantial.
  • If you have further questions about the product or delivery, you can use the ask a question link to contact the seller directly.

Research the eBay Seller

It is vital to do due diligence on the eBay carp-fishing tackle seller before going ahead with any bids on the tackle. There are some obvious questions that need answers.

  • How strong is their eBay feedback rating?
  • How many sales have they made on eBay?
  • Is their positive score 99% or higher?
  • What have previous buyers said about their carp-fishing tackle purchases?
  • Is any kind of warranty available on the seller’s carp-fishing tackle?
  • Can buyers see a copy of their terms and conditions?


Clearly, there is a lot of equipment that a beginner will need when starting out in carp fishing, and the items described here are the basics needed for the newcomer to the sport. Of course, beginner carp anglers might not have a large budget to start with or want to commit to a significant expense until they are sure that carp fishing is definitely for them. That is why it could be wise to go along with a friend on a couple of occasions to get a feel for carp fishing. Anyone who wants to plunge right in, though, would be advised to go for better quality on rods and reels – less expensive items here can be a false economy.

Once the aspiring carp angler has got a taste of the sport, all that remains is to look into the basic equipment described here, all of which can be bought at competitive prices on eBay.

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